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The exterior of Workman’s Club in Dublin
Photograph: Workman’s Club

The 12 best nightlife spots in Dublin

Planning a crawl? Get around with our guide to the very best nightlife in Dublin – one of the best nights on the planet

Éadaoin Fitzmaurice
Written by
Éadaoin Fitzmaurice
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Move over Berlin, Barcelona and Budapest, because Europe has a new party capital. Dublin, unfortunately, doesn’t follow the charming alliteration of that first sentence, but the patrons of the bars, pubs and clubs care little about that. They are too busy throwing shapes at an underground club or sean-nós dancing in a traditional pub. No matter your preference, the Irish capital will give you one of the best nights of your life.

Once the sun goes down, the atmosphere in Dublin changes. The tension of the workday is released, and conversation flows a little more freely. Putting together the perfect night in The Pale doesn’t require a huge amount of thought, simply fill up at one of the city’s best restaurants (check out the best of the best when it comes to Indian cuisine) and then settle in with a pint, cocktail, short or all three. Not at the same time, obviously, let’s not get carried away.

Scrap that, let’s get carried away with the ultimate guide to the best nightlife spots in Dublin.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Dublin

Best nightlife in Dublin

Hozier, Christy Moore, Glen Hansard, Mundy – they all began their careers at Whelan’s, Dublin’s premier live music venue. This Wexford Street institution draws a mix of old-school music heads and hip yopros who come for the jubilant atmosphere and stellar, indie-centric programme. Head to the back room, where two DJs are usually on hand, for the real craic.

You couldn’t get more Irish than Smithfield’s The Cobblestone. Traditional live music, an old-school pub layout, Guinness aplenty: this quaint boozer has been going for decades, and a pit stop here really does feel like travelling back in time. On any given night, you may hear bluegrass, folk, country or traditional sean-nós, and will inevitably be kept on your feet with some céilí as the night wears on.

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The award-winning Workman’s is another go-to for comedy, karaoke and live music in central Dublin. This quirky Georgian townhouse club has a casual feel, boasting multiple dance floors and a huge beer garden with its very own Wowburger. The drinks offers are decent, too. What more could you really want?

The revamped Café En Seine must be the city’s most impressive cocktail bar. With its range of elegant art nouveau rooms spread across three floors, this classy venue is a popular choice among couples and large parties alike. Its pièce de résistance? The outdoor street garden is designed to resemble a Parisian shopping street. A decent soundtrack and first-rate service round out the thoroughly glam experience.

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You could easily walk straight past this cocktail bar. But that mystique is very much part of Peruke & Periwig’s charm. Inside, the strangely beautiful décor – starring a mirrored bar and some 18th-century wigs – will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The cocktails are unconventional, the music chill: if you’re looking for a classy night and good vibes, head straight in.

From the outside, the Bar With No Name looks enigmatic as its moniker suggests – only a street sign with a wooden snail on it hints at its existence. Head up the stairs, however, and you’ll find a speakeasy with multiple seating areas fringed with red velour curtains, and out the back, a circus tent-style beer garden that’s always brimming. Nearby, you’ll also find nightlife hot spots including Hogans, Fade Street Social, Idlewild and The Drury Buildings – making this the perfect area for a mini-pub crawl.

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This is Ireland’s most famous club and a rite of passage for anyone passing through Dublin. Pulling in a diverse mix of police, nurses, culchies (Irish from outside Dublin) and students, Coppers is the place to come if you fancy a night’s grooving to cheesy ’90s bangers, obligatory pint in hand. A huge venue with multiple bars and dance floors, it stays open later than most – making it a popular final stop on a night out.

If you’re music-mad, this is the place for you. The intimate Button Factory must be one of Temple Bar’s coolest hangouts, with live gigs spanning everything from up-and-coming indie band showcases to EDM DJ nights. The multi-level design ensures a sizeable crowd can get in every night, while friendly staff, brilliant acoustics and savage drinks combos seal the deal.

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Tucked at the back of a top-notch sushi restaurant, Tengu is one of the hottest clubs in Dublin right now. Spread across two rooms, this edgy spot prides itself on having one of the best sound systems in the capital. Genres are a good mix – so whether you’re more into R’n’B, disco or techno, there’s a night for you here. Open Fridays and Saturdays from 11pm until late.

By day, you can sink into luxuriant armchairs, play board games and socialise with furry Dublin locals at this dog-friendly LGBTQ+ bar. By night, the vibe shifts up a gear. If you’re lucky, much-loved drag queen Pixie Woo might to the decks and storm through a set of classic gay anthems. Expect disco, funk and reggae on other nights. There’s an extensive gin and whiskey menu, plus your usual craft beers and ales.

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Sports bar, pub and club McGowans brings the tunes with DJs playing largely ’90s and ’00s hits to a laser-illuminated crowd. This is the place to head if you’re ever on the Northside and want to avoid the city-centre drags.

On most nights, the entirety of Dame Lane throngs with tipplers dropping in and out of The Stag’s Head, Mulligan and Haines and 4 Dame Lane. But our pick of the bunch is The Dame Tavern. Snug and always packed, this vibrant pub serves one of Dublin’s very best pints of black.

After more solid recommendations?

  • Things to do

The Irish have a rep for partying hard – and knocking back the pints pretty much wherever they can. True or not, when you’re in Dublin, a night on the tiles is a must. There’s something for every type of clubber here: student nights, international parties, Insta-friendly venues, LGBTQ+ pubs and bars, and, of course, our very own institution, Coppers.

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